Fighting Demons

I decided to hold off on the post I had planned for this week to take a minute and share with you some recent struggles. Often, when I succeed, I hear, “But it’s so easy for you!” It actually isn’t. I work hard at overcoming my demons just like everyone else. Sometimes, my demons get the best of best of me. My personality type and my personal dysfunctions generally prevent me from letting people see that inner struggle, but it’s there, and I’m working on it.

Lent has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the Gospel readings of Jesus’s teachings. I love all the purple. I love the music. There’s a raw open quality to it that I admire and love, a quality I wish I had more of. It’s a time when grief, pain, and sadness are ok. It’s a time when are limitations are ok. The Christian message is that those things are ok all the time, but that tends to get lost on mainstream Christianity that asks me to say 24/7 that things are well with my soul. The truth is that I need Christ because my emotional insides are a hot mess.

As is usually the case, I went through some serious spiritual formation during Lent this year, but instead of leaving me enjoying the Easter season, it’s left me wondering what’s next. I feel a bit like Jacob after wrestling with an angel all night. I survived and have a new name, but I also have a limp. I’m struggling with how to move forward with that new limp.

Easter morning is usually for me what Christmas morning is for most people. I love putting on a bright spring outfit and heading to church knowing that there will be a joyful celebration of our Lord and Savior’s triumph over death.  There’s an excitement in waiting to see what beautiful spring creation the Altar Guild has come up with this year. Being in the choir, I know the joyful music we’ll be singing accompanied by brass and organ.

This year, from the moment the service started, all I could think about is how much my Dad would have loved it. Easter was always his favorite holiday too. He took the whole family shopping for new outfits and bought all his girls orchid corsages. He played trumpet in high school and was always partial to brass. “Jesus Christ Has Risen Today” was one of his favorite hymns. He would have loved our processional Easter morning. Instead of feeling joyous, I spent the morning feeling his loss.

At the moment, I’m being kind to myself. I’m talking some time to journal, and I’m taking some time to be alone. In addition to my spiritual struggles, I’m fighting seasonal depression, because winter just doesn’t seem to want to let go this year. I’m fighting sinus infections, because the weather is all over the place. So I’m taking time for rest and healing. I’m giving myself a pass on deadlines and goals.

We are ultimately Easter people, but Easter doesn’t exist without the preceding crucifixion. It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to hurt. Even when you know the resurrection is coming. Even when you know God has your back. It’s ok to feel the grief and feel the pain. This too shall pass.

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